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From Innovation into Production
At the Schaeffler Group, our roots run deep in innovation and engineering. All three of our major brands were founded with an ingenious invention. The invention of the ball grinding machine in 1883 made Friedrich Fischer a pioneer and founder of the rolling bearing industry. Dr. Georg Schaeffler made an industrial breakthrough with the development of the needle-roller assembly in 1949. LuK introduced the diaphragm spring clutch in 1974 and has offered the industries most advanced clutch and damper systems ever since. This history set the standard and has resulted in a strong focus on R&D in all branches of the Schaeffler Group, giving rise to more than 1000 patents per year. And the development work does not stop in theory but continues into production as hundreds of new products are released every year.
Our employees are continuously working on new products, processes, and materials in state-of-the-art research and development centers worldwide. Our commitment to innovation and development means that thousands of engineers are working constantly to create and improve products for the automotive, machinery, consumer products, energy, and aerospace industries. These professionals utilize the latest engineering tools including FEA (Finite Element Analysis), CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics), and sophisticated in-house simulation tools which can predict everything from bearing friction to complete vehicle fuel economy and performance. In hardware, engineers and technicians use in-vehicle data acquisition and calibration tools as well as test benches for assessing product performance and durability.
In North America, development is performed at one of five R&D sites:
The areas of engine, transmission, chassis, machine tools, consumer products, and aerospace are all developed intensely in the region for local customers and applications. For example, simulation of a complete transmission including the housing in order to find optimal solutions for the bearings, NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness), and fuel economy is regularly performed in conjunction with local customers. Attention to the complete system is always maintained even when considering the influence of components. The men and women in North America are also tied into our global network, sharing best practices, test and analysis capability, and exchanging personnel for cross-training.
Innovation and development are rewarded in a variety of ways. Inventors receive an incentive with each patent filed, which increases based on the use of the patent. The FAG Innovation Award is given annually and engineers are given the opportunity to present their work both to the involved customer as well as at a variety of technical symposiums such as the LuK Symposium which is held every four years.